‘Goodbye’, a movie that was recently released on Netflix, gives us another reason not to believe in box office collections while judging a movie. Written and directed by Vikas Bahl, the Hindi-language family comedy-drama was a box office disaster. But with its OTT release, I’m hoping the movie, its makers, and all those involved in its production get their due respect and recognition.
Why am I showering accolades on a movie at the very beginning of a review? Because the team behind ‘Goodbye’ deserves every bit of praise. Goodbye is a family film that centers around a dysfunctional family and the death of a much-loved matriarch. The movie then goes on to explore the dynamics between the family members and the society they belong to.
At the start of the movie, we’re introduced to lawyer Tara Bhalla, who is partying at a club after winning her first-ever case. But when she wakes up to the doorbell the next morning, the news she hears shocks her out of all the joviality. She finds out that her mother has passed and that her father Harish Bhalla (Amitabh Bachchan) has been trying to reach her all night.
The first phone conversation between the father and the daughter sets the entire tone of the movie. With the exception of a few moments of light-hearted hilarity in between, Goodbye is a somber movie. Yet, it’s not as dark as its subject could have led it to be.
After the news of their mother Gayatri’s (Neena Gupta) death makes it to her children, all of them gather at their old house to console their father and prepare for her funeral. This event becomes a coming-of-age spectacle for the audience where they see each character evolve into a different person as s/he struggles to cope with what is clearly a trying time.
One look at writer/director Bahl’s filmography will tell you a lot about his capability of telling stories of very normal people in our society. And here, despite their respective stardom, the legend Amitabh Bachchan and the currently popular Rashmika Mandanna (who plays Tara Bhalla) both play ordinary people with ordinary lives which are relatable and understandable.
Out of his four children, Harish’s relationship is the most strained only with his daughter Tara. Harish is a strict father who wants to impose his rules and regulations on the family while Tara is the typical rebel who is always at loggerheads with her father’s decisions.
This nagging and bickering between the father-daughter duo create the most interesting moments in the movie. The actors playing the respective roles embody the spirit of their characters and give believable performances. The conversations between them feel real and relatable, with the audience seeing the similarities and differences between their personalities.
While Bachchan and Mandanna are powerful performers, the rest of the cast, which consists of quite a few new faces, matches up to them. In whatever little flashbacks she appears in, Gupta, as the mother of four grown children and a loving wife to Harish, is a treat to watch on screen. Also, the guest appearance of comedian Sunil Grover as Pandit ji—a philosophical Hindu priest—is something to watch out for in the movie.
The major credit for the movie’s beauty, however, should go to the writer/director Bahl. The writing and direction of the film are just too good. Every character shines and scintillates in its respective aspects. Bahl creates a two-hour-long reel run on the death of an ordinary woman who died of natural causes and still keeps the audience glued to their screens.
His writing has multiple layers that touch on individuals’ choices, societal norms, and Hindu myths and traditions. The message of the story stays intact despite dealing with such heavy themes. Bahl’s characters—big or small—have identities of their own and that’s what I love about certain filmmakers. They create multiple unique identities in the movie and make it memorable to the audience instead of just shining the spotlight on one or two main characters.
Who should watch it?
‘Goodbye’ is a family drama anyone can enjoy with their family or even alone. The movie has some great moments that people can really relate to. If you are the emotional sort, Goodbye can be a real tear-jerker.
Run time: 2hrs 10mins
Actors: Amitabh Bachchan, Neena Gupta, Rashmika Mandanna
Director: Vikash Bahl
Rating: 4 stars